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Posted at 12:07 PM ET, 11/21/2011

Occupy DC by the numbers: Protest cost nears $1 million


Members of the Occupy DC movement blocked the ally behind the abandoned Franklin School on Nov. 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Mark Gail - The Washington Post)
Occupy DC has cost taxpayers nearly $1 million over the past two months, Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) has told WJLA-TV, but that protests hadn’t had a big impact on the city’s budget so far.

(This post has been updated.)

These numbers don’t include the cost of a three-hour standoff protesters engaged in with police Saturday night. Officers ultimately arrested 13 protesters who had entered an abandoned historic building in downtown Washington. (Gray said Monday that the building’s redevelopment is a “tier one priority,” according to the Post’s Mike DeBonis.)

Before the weekend, fixed police staffing at protests had amounted to $870,000 — $22,000 per day and 20 officers per shift — since the protest began in early October. As of two weeks ago, a police spokeswoman had said total police overtime staffing had cost the District less than $1,000.

Thursday’s Key Bridge protest, which resulted in no arrests, cost the Department of Transportation $4,400. No overtime costs were incurred, a spokeswoman at DDOT said Monday.

Beyond policing and transportation costs, there’s also a question of park maintenance. The Department of Public Works has spent about $6,000 on sanitation services, according to WTOP. The Washington Examiner has also attempted to quantify the amount of damaged sod in McPherson Square, part of a $437,000 stimulus-funded restoration project that took place earlier this year.

(The situation is worse in New York, where officials say demonstrations have cost the city around $6 million in protest-related manpower, according to ABC News.)

But after an eventful weekend — and before the arrival of a growing group of marchers on their way to the District from New York — Gray stressed that protesters should better organize their internal communication around protest tactics, according to the Post’s Tim Craig.

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By  |  12:07 PM ET, 11/21/2011

 
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